In other competitions for the House, Rep. Anne M. Northup (R), who has long had tough races, easily defeated Tony Miller (D), 60 percent to 38 percent. Republicans Ron Lewis and Edward Whitfield also won convincingly. In addition, the state overwhelmingly voted to disallow same-sex marriages.
Bush won easily, 57 percent to 42 percent. Although many observers had predicted that the Senate seat being vacated by retiring John Breaux (D) would be settled only in a runoff next month, Rep. David Vitter (R) bested three Democratic rivals -- Rep. Chris John, state Treasurer John Kennedy and state Rep. Arthur Morrell -- taking 51 percent of the vote for an outright win.
Republican Mel R. Martinez, the former secretary of housing and urban development, will be the first Cuban American to serve in the Senate after a narrow win over Democrat Betty Castor.
(Peter Cosgrove -- AP)
Vitter's victory was one of five open seats vacated by Senate Democrats that were filled by Republicans on Election Day. The sweep was key to the expansion of GOP control in the Senate.
In the House, Bobby Jindal (R) won the seat vacated by Vitter. The seats left open by John and by retiring Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R) remained unresolved yesterday. One of the candidates vying for Tauzin's seat is his son, W.J. "Billy" Tauzin III, who is a Republican like his father.
Bush won handily here, 60 percent to 40 percent. In the House, incumbent Republicans Roger Wicker and Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. and Democrats Bennie Thompson and Gene Taylor won their races. State voters also approved a ban on same-sex marriage.
South Carolina (8)
Once again, Bush triumphed here, 58 percent to 41 percent. But few observers expected otherwise. The real question was the race for the Senate seat left open by the retiring Ernest F. Hollings (D), who has been a mainstay of South Carolina politics since the 1950s and is a former governor. In that hard-fought contest, Rep. Jim DeMint (R) defeated state Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D), 54 percent to 44 percent.
Tenenbaum had aggressively challenged DeMint's support for a 23 percent sales tax to replace the federal income tax and his statement that gays should not teach in public schools. She asserted that he was out of step with average South Carolinians. But DeMint, a three-term House member, defended his politics as conservative -- well in line with the state -- and did not apologize for liking policy, which some people considered boring.
In other races, former representative Bob Inglis (R) will return to the House after taking the seat that had been held by DeMint. Rep. Joe Wilson (R) retained his seat against Democrat Michael R. Ellisor. Other winners were Democratic incumbents John M. Spratt Jr. and James E. Clyburn and Republican incumbent Henry E. Brown Jr.
To no one's surprise, Tennessee went solidly for Bush -- a repeat performance of Bush's 2000 victory over native Tennessean Al Gore. Bush beat Kerry here 57 percent to 43 percent. The state also returned Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) to the House; he defeated Janice Bowling (R), 55 percent to 45 percent. Other House winners were Republicans Bill Jenkins, John J. Duncan Jr. and Zach Wamp and Democrats Jim Cooper, Bart Gordon, John Tanner and Harold E. Ford Jr.